May 29, 2021
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first_imgTOKYO — North Korean voters will make a choice Sunday when they elect a new national legislature, but not for a candidate. The ruling elite have already done that for them, and there’s only one per district.They get to vote “yes” or “no.” Virtually all pick “yes.”One thing they don’t get to decide is whether to bother voting. Going to the polls is expected of all eligible voters, which effectively makes North Korean elections a powerful tool for checking up on the people.For outsiders trying to figure out what’s going on in North Korean politics, Sunday’s elections for the Supreme People’s Assembly may shed some light on what personalities are currently in favor and likely to dominate in the years ahead. For North Korean authorities, the elections provide both a veneer of democracy and a means of monitoring the whereabouts and loyalties of average citizens.Colorful posters urging citizens to go to the polls line the streets in Pyongyang and other cities. Along with nearly 700 other “deputies” expected to be seated in the new assembly, supreme leader Kim Jong Un himself has announced his candidacy — in District 111 on sacred Mount Paekdu.Official turnout rates in North Korean elections are generally reported at over 99 percent, a practice inspired by the tradition of Stalin’s Soviet Union. Sunday’s will likely be the same.last_img read more

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